India’s Banks Are Once More Serving Crypto Traders and Exchanges

Banks in India are again doing business with select cryptocurrency exchanges and their customers.

Top institutions such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Yes Bank are allowing customers to use their bank accounts to fund cryptocurrency trading. They are further offering various facilities to cryptocurrency exchanges, sources familiar with the matter told The Economic Times.

Accounts of major exchanges had been suspended after the Reserve Bank of India issued an order barring banks from using their systems for cryptocurrency-related transactions in April 2018. The ban was quashed by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

“Banks earlier took a cautious approach even after the supreme court overruled the central bank’s crypto ban in March.” Gaurav Dahake, founder and CEO of Bangalore-based exchange Bitbns, told CoinDesk in an email. “But with time and price momentum around bitcoin, a lot more clients started demanding them to open up an account specific to crypto trading and banks have started opening them up now.”

Bitcoin recently rose to a new record high of $19,920, topping the previous peak price of $19,783 reached in December 2017.

Sumit Gupta, CEO of Mumbai-based cryptocurrency exchange CoinDCX, confirmed via WhatsApp that his exchange has been collaborating with multiple banking partners to build and develop business services ever since the Supreme Court order was overturned.

Meanwhile, Nischal Shetty, CEO of Binance-backed cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, told CoinDesk that banks have reached out to the company to offer working capital or other loans and financial services.

A banker, however, told The Economic Times that his bank is still cautious while dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and serves only a select few so far. CoinDesk reached out to HDFC Bank and State Bank of India for comment on the matter, but did not receive response by press time.

While banks have begin serving crypto exchanges and traders, the Indian government’s stance on cryptocurrency trading remains unclear. As of September, the government was said to be mulling a ban on cryptocurrency trading but exploring blockchain’s utility in managing land records, the pharma supply chain and educational certificate records.

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